King Philippe awarded titles of nobility to ten people on Wednesday, on the eve of the national holiday. Ten other high honorary decorations were awarded, notably to Heidi De Pauw of Child Focus and to the father of Ihsane Jarfi, victim of a homophobic crime. These ennoblements were published on Wednesday in the Belgian Monitor.
Five men and five women were made baron or baroness. Among them, we find the former Antwerp alderman Philip Heylen as well as the former president of the FEB Bernard Gilliot. Regina Sluszny, president of the Forum of Jewish Organizations, also received this title, as did Michel Pradolini, president of City Pirates, an Antwerp football club that has turned into a social project. Former diplomat André Querton and scientists Cédric Blanpain, Dominique Bron and Brigitte Velkeniers-Hoebanckx are also awarded the title of baron or baroness. Charlotte Lhoist, former director of the Lhoist group, and Martine Reijnaers, of Reynaers Aluminium, also received the same honor. A series of high distinctions were delivered in stride. Four people join the ranks of the Order of Leopold by being named Commander.
This is the case of the writer and philosopher Alicja Gescinska, but also of Hassan Jarfi, the father of Ihsane Jarfi, victim of a homophobic crime committed in Liège in 2012. Regnier Haegelsteen and Baron Didier Matray are now also Commanders of the Order of Leopold. Finally, the rank of Commander of the Order of the Crown was awarded to six people. Heidi De Pauw, managing director of Child Focus, as well as the author Bart Van Loo, are the best-known personalities among them. We also find the harpist Anneleen Lenaerts, the photographer Marie Françoise Plissart, the baroness Geneviève van der Straten Ponthoz and the ceramist Ann Van Hoey.